Scholarship fund honors Springfield IL High School graduate
Anthony Benson always gave his best – and expected the same from everyone else too.
His mother, Dr Cora Benson, laughs as she remembers one of Anthony’s friends excitedly sharing with him that he had just cycled 14 miles.
“Anthony just watched it; he wasn’t impressed with 14 – he wanted the friend to go do more! she says. “That was how he approached everything.”
A Springfield native and graduate of Springfield High School, Anthony Benson died in 2016 of breast cancer. To continue his legacy of drive and excellence, Benson established the Anthony Benson Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.
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The fund will provide a scholarship to an African-American student graduating from SHS and attending a post-secondary institution.
“We want to extend Anthony’s legacy by creating a fund for hard-working, successful students. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a deserving Springfield student who shows a determination to succeed,” Benson said.
After graduating from Springfield High in 1987, Anthony graduated from Iowa State University and earned a degree in finance in 1990. He then went to Illinois State University to earn his master’s degree in 1992. He held positions at IBM and NCR Corp. software, professional services, consulting and technology company in Atlanta, Georgia, formerly known as National Cash Register – where he worked for most of his adult life.
Benson describes his son as a calm but warm and energetic man. He was an athlete who competed in track and field and played football for Springfield High.
“He brought energy to everything and always gave 101% effort to everything he did,” she recalled.
Through the scholarship fund, Benson’s greatest hope is to see students afford to go to college or buy textbooks who otherwise couldn’t. She wants the students to know that someone cares and supports them. Anthony, she knows, would have liked the idea of a memorial fund.
“He would be really happy if someone took a step further because of him and with this help. He always encouraged people to do a little better,” Benson says.
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A recipient will be chosen each year by a scholarship committee; a member of Anthony’s family will still be represented on the committee. Benson is grateful for the chance to share her son’s story and impact future generations.
“Anthony touched the lives of so many people. We felt like he could survive on students who believe in themselves and have the audacity to give their all to get where they want to go. want to go,” she said. “I want the students to know that life is not easy, but there are people here who are willing to help.”
The mission of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln is “to connect people who care about important causes.” To learn more, visit CFLL.org, email info@CFLL.org or call 217.789.4431.